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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've chosen midwifery as my second lifes work (hubby and kids being first) and had plans for distance schooling, full apprenticeship, etc but life has sped things up a bit. I'm slowly getting pulled deeper into the midwifery world due to a need for my services in an underserved area. I've apprenticed, have been doing independent study for yrs, neonatal resus cert, etc and it looks like I am entering midwifery the way MY midwife did. Someone needed help, she (a childbirth instructor) was asked to help out, and a career and life long love was born. Granted, I have more training, equipment and experience than she did, but the paths still feel similar. The area where I have slowly begun serving has pretty much only been served by women who started out deeply traditional, but my specific hometown has seen my midwife go far more medical before she retired and the new (to this area, not midwifery) midwife that started out the same way and went for licensing completely disdains that route now and almost seems ashamed of the way she started. Are we a dying breed? I see very few new midwives on here that have learned traditionally, and there are no new ones and few older ones in my state that have started that way (I mainly practice in a neighboring state; only one midwife there besides the Mennonite midwife and the 2nd only serves her religious community). I know that old must make way for the new, but it seems like an era is dying.
 

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First off, I know the area you are and the women do need midwifery care up that way! We lived up there for a bit and it was either UC or hospital birth as we were there after the one midwife retired and before the new one got moved up there. So, good for you


When you say traditionally trained do you mean like starting off attending births without an apprenticeship and just going as a midwife? Or do you mean a full apprenticeship? Or what? I guess I am not sure exactly what sort of background you mean.
 

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Yes I *think* know what you mean.

Midwifery is something I am very slowly pursuing. I've been a doula for a few years and decided I eventually would like to be a midwife. but I'm taking the slow experienced route. I don't desire "formal" schooling... I desire experience and passion. I want to serve, not make a career out of it. (I mean I wouldn't mind making a few bucks, but it isn't my first goal).

I enjoy midwifery, and I'm not saying I have anything against people who get certified and licensed through less "traditional methods" but it does seem sad that so few people are left that stick to the old midwifery model - the few I know who do are incredible midwives! but I also know how hard it can be on their families worrying about being sued or taken to court or what have you. some get sick of feeling defenseless and pursue formal licensing. I get that...

anyhow for now i'm full time mom and wife and anything else has to fit in between that. but long term I still see myself doing the "lay" midwifery thing (AKA traditional midwifery).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Most of the midwives I know personally got pulled into midwifery because they were women who knew a little something and were hard-working trustworthy women so when families wanted an extra hand they asked them to come help out. That's how they found their love for midwifery, and they continued attending births and pursuing training on their own. There were no midwives for them to apprentice with. I am very fortunate that I did get 2 yrs worth of prenatals and postpartums and births in before my midwife retired (and I had to drop out of the scene for awhile due to family). I've known for a long time that my life would include attending births, I just assumed it would be with a full apprenticeship and long distance schooling behind me. I continue my schooling, I can't see a time when I will ever stop (do we ever stop learning new things about the body and how to care for our women?), but after working with a licensed midwife and having had a chance to work with a traditional or "lay" midwife, I find myself far more powerfully drawn to the traditional. There are things that I want to increase upon in my skills (anyone know where I can find a good suturing workshop?), but the T midwife had a lot more trust in the birth process (and me) than the other 2 women (I worked with another briefly). And that's after being told I was one of the best students my midwife had ever had and the only one who had ever actually continued in the birth world. I know a lot of that has to do with different personalities; I guess I'm kind of hoping to meld the T and L midwife together to suit my needs. You just don't see many old time country midwives anymore, YKWIM? Women whose grandma and mom were midwives and they learned at their knee, or women who were pulled into birthing because they had a certain set of skills and/or knowledge (like a birth instructor) that was helpful. I'm thrilled that we have so much available for us now, training wise, it just seems like our Granny midwives are disappearing and/or are looked down upon, and it feels like we are losing something precious.
 

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If you truly feel like you are ready to fulfill that role you probably are. I would worry however about crisis situations with out a full apprenticeship. 90% of the time births go great with no problems 5% of the time you need a skilled midwife to handle a situation and 5% of the time you need hospital intervention. I would hate to put myself in a situation where serious harm could come to a baby or mother. Good luck on your decision. As a birth doula, CBE(6years) and apprentice for 12 months I know I am not ready yet.
 

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They might be a dying breed because formal education and professional training is highly valued by the American culture, it really is a local community that creates the need for a traditional midwife. Not every community has the type of need you describe in yours.

If you feel ready to serve as a midwife in your community, put yourself out there and see if people want you. That is the only way to gauge if you will be accepted to serve with your background.

BTW/ my friend is in a similar situation and wants to serve as a lay midwife, she has apprenticed for years, and she can not find any clients. So it really is about the community that wants you, who creates you into the midwife when you do not go on the professionl formal training route.

That is how Ina Mae and the women on the Farm became midwives the need existed for the community.
 

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They might be a dying breed because formal education and professional training is highly valued by the American culture, it really is a local community that creates the need for a traditional midwife. Not every community has the type of need you describe in yours.

It is your community that makes a traditional midwife! I learned through apprenticeship and although I am now a CPM and licensed, I feel that the traditional wise woman view informs my use of medical technology.
The woman and her family are also the ones who decide what and when they want more medical approach.

It is hard to devise a linear thinking test for the skills we learn as traditional midwives. How do you test intuition by multiple choice? LOL!

I am also busy mentoring future midwives in the traditional skills. So- even though not mainstream, the old ways live on and evolve.
 

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I am in a similar situation. I am wife and mom first and am learning the art of midwifery from a traditional midwife who is amazing. I will not be participating in a formal academic program. I too fell into birth work and have found that it is my calling. I am still apprenticing and will probably for a while
I also feel like traditional midwifery is being lost in our attempt to legitimize ourselves. In my community I believe all of the midwives (not CNM's) have been traditionally trained through apprenticeship however there are those as you described who seem almost ashamed of those roots. There others who are very proud of those roots and will not become CPM's for that very reason. It feels so stratified sometimes!

Ranni
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It is your community that makes a traditional midwife! I learned through apprenticeship and although I am now a CPM and licensed, I feel that the traditional wise woman view informs my use of medical technology.
The woman and her family are also the ones who decide what and when they want more medical approach.

It is hard to devise a linear thinking test for the skills we learn as traditional midwives. How do you test intuition by multiple choice? LOL!

I can't agree more with this. One side of the river here, there is a small, but growing need and desire for my services and on the other side there is little to no interest. In those cases, I am happy to send women to the other midwife that better suits what they are looking for. Thank heavens life is long and I have yrs to grow and mature in my work! And the same to the women who love me and desire my presence at such an important time as their birth.
 

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I just want to say that yes, I do think it is dieing and I feel strongly that it is important to keep it alive. Easier said than done, as you have to go forward in the way you feel is right, when society is being brainwashed by the medical association.
Godd for you on taking that step, sounds like you know what you are up against
 

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I see your point but in some states, it is illegal to attend births as a midwife without formal training. I live in Florida and you must attend a 3 year school and complete an apprenticeship. Then once you are licensed, you must follow state laws to stay legal.

IDK....I see where you are coming from but I have always leaned towards legal direct entry midwives. I would not feel comfortable going to a midwife who has not had formal training unless I was delivering in a state that did not license midwives and even then I would do some very thorough interviewing before deciding on a midwife.

Good luck on your path OP. If you feel this is right for you then go for it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I would not feel comfortable going to a midwife who has not had formal training unless I was delivering in a state that did not license midwives and even then I would do some very thorough interviewing before deciding on a midwife.
[/QUOTE]

Stating my feelings as well. This is the exact reason why I accept clients. On the side of the river where there is legislation there is no need for my services yet (other than the fact I feel there should be more options; women shouldn't have to use a midwife just because she's the only one around no matter how good she is. Not that I mean anyone in particular; that was a general comment.) and I'm content with that. On the side of the river where there is no legislation is another story. There is an excellent midwife there, but she serves the entire state (practically BY HERSELF!) and lives 4 hrs away. Not everyone is comfortable with that. Thanks for your comments ladies, and for allowing me to chat and maybe even grieve a little.
 

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I guess this is where the question , What is "formal" training in midwifery? Just because one type of training i recognized by a particular state, really does not mean that it is any better than another. I feel that apprentiship is the most important part of training. What you learn from a school, book wise, is all stuff that any person has access to without that school. You can be just a knowledgable without the guidence of a particular program.

What you learn from an experience preceptor is going to be valuable, what you learn from talking to other midwives, and hearing stories of challenges they have faced, is going to be very valuable as well. What you learn from books is of importance in knowing about pregnancy, birth, newborn care and all the normal ways as well as abnormal ways the process can go, but it doesnt teach you how to be a midwife.

You could spend 10 years in school and never learn to be a midwife.

Traditional midwifery involves how a midwife practices. To me this is continuity of care, not doing birth work in a hospital, or birth center that does "on/off" shifts. Sharing a practice, haveing that great back up, to me is still traditional, but when a midwife uses ulstrasound rather than her hands and palpation first for position, size, ect. That is not traditional midwifery.

Traditional midwifery involves getting to know your clients throughout the entire pregnacy, being the one to be there when the baby is born, being there how she wants or doesnt want you to be present. Using your hands, eyes, ears, and intuition, BEFORE using technology. That is traditional midwifery. Being a part of the community, veiwed as a part of the community, that is part of traditional midwifery as well.

I am not saying there is something wrong with other ways of practicing midwifery, there is a place and a person for everyone, just that things quickly change from "traditional"

Ahh, thank you for letting me spill, guess i needed to do that, and it just happened to be this thread
 

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I love what you wrote Lisa.

I guess my thoughts with "formal" training includes an apprenticeship. So even though I live in a state that has licensed midwives, I still feel that by following their steps to get my license (which includes school), I will still become a more traditional midwife if that makes sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That's one thing I miss. There is no tight knit midwifery community here, at least not among professionals. I miss chatting about births with my preceptor; that's how I decompress and work out thoughts and feelings about births and talking to my husband isn't the same. He listens and cares because it's important to me, but he doesn't REALLY care. Not the same as talking to another woman who knows where I'm coming from.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by CanidFL View Post
I love what you wrote Lisa.

I guess my thoughts with "formal" training includes an apprenticeship. So even though I live in a state that has licensed midwives, I still feel that by following their steps to get my license (which includes school), I will still become a more traditional midwife if that makes sense.

Yes, it does make sense. Everyone has to follow the path appropriate for them, "traditionally" midwives would have learned from an "apprentiship" path. Even if that was accidental by being the one there to help out when needed, then eventually learning the ropes to be able to serve when the elder was approaching time to be through. As with most other trades, such as blacksmith, carpenter, glass work, and so on. Before medical schooling became available, the people providing that care in a community woul dhave learned the same way.

How we choose to provide the care and attention we do will determine how traditional we are, reguardless of the path to get there.

As for licensing, in places that it is required by law, then you must abide by those regulations to remain legal. In places that it is optional, some may choose not to become licensed if they do have a traditional veiwpoint and style and the regs that must be followed by being licensed may interfere with some of that. People choosing a midwife have to look deeper. Being licensed does not make a person a better midwife.
 

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Lisa, I agree with what you have said! I suppose it all comes down to choice, families having a choice as to the type of care they desire and midwives having a choice as to the type of training they desire and the type of care they wish to provide.

Ranni
 

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I agree with Dewi especially....there is a great midwifehere..she is a CNM now, but she started off as a more traditional midwife, apprenticing, doing homebirths, birth center internships, etc....but then she wanted to be able to practice legally and therefore serve more women who would not consider an "illegal" (in our state) midwife. Plus, she gains scripting privileges and stuff, which she uses to better help her clients...although she is still very hands-off and probably the HCP who most truly adheres to the concept of "informed consent" I have ever met.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jljeppson View Post
That's one thing I miss. There is no tight knit midwifery community here, at least not among professionals. I miss chatting about births with my preceptor; that's how I decompress and work out thoughts and feelings about births and talking to my husband isn't the same. He listens and cares because it's important to me, but he doesn't REALLY care. Not the same as talking to another woman who knows where I'm coming from.

What is stopping you from creating a community of like minded women and colleagues to befriend and support each other. Do you have any doulas, CBE, LLLL, parents raising their children holistically, etc?

If there is no one available f2f , there has to be a yahoo email group for midwives like yourself.
 

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I live in a huge city and I am apprenticing to be a traditional midwife. Here, it is about 50/50 the way women choose to train. There are many women (myself one of them) who prefer a midwife that learned oldschool.

Sarah
 
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